Kenyan diaspora in US reject Ruto's plan to engage Gen Zs

President William Ruto

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Kenyans living in Washington DC, USA, have rejected President William Ruto's plans to engage the public through the recently announced National Multi-Sectoral Forum and instead want the Head of State to speak directly to Gen Zs in the country. 

They also want the immediate release of all those arrested during the nationwide protests against the controversial Finance Bill 2024, which saw demonstrations in 35 of Kenya's 47 counties. 

The group is also calling for the release of the remains of those killed in the Githurai shootout on the night of June 25, which they claim were taken by the state. 

They have also called for the immediate recall of the US ambassador to Kenya, Meg Whitman, who they accuse of "becoming the Ruto regime's official fixer and working tirelessly to legitimise his regime". 

In a scathing letter to the Kenyan government, they accused President Ruto of calling the Gen Z who took part in the protests criminals in what they said was an attempt to justify the excessive use of force by police officers that resulted in the deaths of many people. 

"Despite withdrawing the Finance Bill on June 26, 2024, he (President Ruto) avoided accountability for his own shoot-to-kill orders. His deputy Rigathi Gachagua has distanced himself from the Black Tuesday killings and blamed security agents for the extrajudicial killings," they said. 

Recognising that the Finance Bill 2024 was drafted in response to the IMF's Structural Adjustment Programme in order to access concessional financing under the Extended Credit Facility, the group is unhappy with the Fund's attempts to disassociate itself from the impact of the Bill, which has been widely rejected in Kenya.

As such, they demanded that IMF Mission Chief to Kenya Haimanot Teferra take responsibility for her role in creating the economic conditions that have fueled widespread civil unrest in Kenya.

"As a diaspora, we are directly affected by over-taxation as we send Sh671 billion in remittances, which are a target of the Ruto regime and IMF fiscal policies that budget corruption," they said. 

The Kenyan diaspora in the US also expressed concern over the presence of several US Congressmen including Rep Vern Buchanan, Rep Gwen Moore, Rep Dan Kidee, Rep Nael Dunn, Rep Jodey Arrington and Drew Ferguson in the Kenyan Parliament on June 19 where they legitimised the tax bill.

The group is now calling on these leaders to withdraw their public support for the Ruto regime.

"The Kenyan Diaspora reaffirms its commitment to support efforts towards a peaceful and prosperous Kenya. We will support grassroots efforts to recall MPs who have betrayed public trust. 

"We stand in solidarity with the Law Society of Kenya's exemplary efforts to hold the government to account through legal action," they said.

They also praised the efforts of the Kenya Red Cross and health workers who risked their lives to provide emergency care to injured protesters. 

To support such initiatives, Kenyans in the US are planning a fundraising campaign.